422/129

Outline view in my writing software

I search for the line of the film from amidst a mountain of impressions, annotations and intuitive connections. To get there, each of the best moments receives a digital “3×5 card” with a title, impressions, tags for scene type, songs and characters, and a summary transcript or translation. With just the best material, I have 422 index cards—too much to parse. So I slice further to just the scenes that send shivers down my spine.

I must be easily impressionable because after the latest cull I still have 129 “so great it has to be in the movie!” scenes…

Waiting to Belong

In this two-minute promo produced by Storyspark, Benjamin (a cool & wise 10-year-old) talks about what it’s like to be adopted.

Waiting to Belong from Storyspark on Vimeo.

Over the past several months I’ve been working with a dedicated group of people who want to see the end of the waiting generation in Canada. More than 30,000 kids in Canada are waiting for adoption – and they aim to change that.

My journey with them began by helping uncover their core story through a process I call “story finding”. We found that, though the number of waiting kids is a daunting challenge, it’s also a great opportunity. This is the first of a series of videos talking about adoption and what it means to those who experience it.

Find out more at waitingtobelong.com.

Seth Godin in NYC

Filmed in New York in the fall of 2010, Seth Godin speaks on what it means for marketers to be the primary storytellers in an organization as part of a sneak preview for the 2010 Contagious Conference.

Marketers are not Advertisers – Seth Godin, 2010 Contagious Conference from Storyspark on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of filming Seth Godin in New York as part of a series of videos for the upcoming Contagious Conference. We had a great time during the interview, with Seth sharing lots of insight and new ideas about marketing, gift culture, and what it means to be a Linchpin. If you’d like to see the full interview… well, you’ll have to come to the conference for that :)

This is round two or three of a series of projects that have quietly launched my new venture, Storyspark. If you haven’t already, head over to the website to check out what it’s all about.

The Wellspring Foundation PSA

The Wellspring Foundation for Education is a hard-working non-profit in Rwanda. This promotional film is the collaborative effort of several creatives that began with a filming trip to Rwanda in 2008.

(Alternate iPhone version)

In 2008, Lyn & Jesse Rosten and I headed to Rwanda to do the last round of filming for Rwanda: Hope Rises. Our hosts were our friends at the Wellspring Foundation for Education, a non-profit working in Rwanda toward quality education. They do the hard, everyday work of training teachers, educating kids and working with headmasters & the ministry of education to deliver the best possible education to Rwandan kids.

My friend and fellow creative Craig Harris just completed editing footage from that trip into a promotional film for Wellspring. The piece is a great example of collaboration at its best. A hard-working non-profit receives the combined efforts of several creative people, melded into a cohesive finished product. Have a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School

Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School.

“… for those who have a sense of poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four year old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within…”

Some of the discussion points on the about page caught my attention:
“How does music function in film? How do you narrate a story? … How do you sensitize an audience? How is space created and understood by an audience? … How do you create illumination and an ecstasy of truth?”

Rwanda: Hope Rises DVD Release

Rwanda DVD Release

It’s hard to believe that almost five years ago, five friends started planning for a trip to Rwanda. Our plan was to shoot a documentary in two weeks, spend a month in hard-core editing, and have it ready to watch by the summer of 2005.

I was so naive, in so many ways. I had shot several documentaries by this point, but nothing on this scale. The process has been intense, difficult, and there was more than once that the whole thing almost didn’t happen. But here we are… the film is ready for the world to see on DVD.

You can get your copy here: Hope Rises Store. There is more info and trailers on the website as well as a Facebook fan page.

Thanks for all of your support over the years to get this thing made.

Bulembu Promo

In August 2008 I travelled to Bulembu, my second trip to this small town in Swaziland, Africa. I had been a few months previously, on a photography assignment (you can see some here and here). This time, I was directing a film of the Canadian Tenors as part of the Voices for Bulembu campaign. The eventual result was this promotional video, and a mini-documentary of the Tenor’s experiences (see it here). Both films were shown as part of a series of gala events to raise money for the work of the Bulembu Foundation. It was a great success, with almost one million dollars raised over a single weekend.

Through my involvement in Bulembu I’ve gained many lifelong friends, and become part of a significant effort to transform this struggling nation. It has been a great privilege.

Many thanks to those involved. Post-production on the videos was by Jon at EXE Productions. Cinematography was by the talented Jonny Beecher. Special thanks to Kelly Walker for producing both trips and to the team at the Bulembu Foundation for their transformative work.

YMCA Youth Peace Network PSA

A recent project for The YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

We had a very tight timeline, and an even tighter budget, but we managed to pull it all together — just in time for the YPN’ers farewell dinner. A great group of youth to interact with (and a great program!) Check it out for yourself…